MILAN - Serie A leaders AC Milan lost 1-0 to AS Roma after striker Marco Borriello burst his former club's bubble and put his new side back in the title picture at a freezing San Siro on Saturday.
Borriello, who joined Roma from Milan in August to make room for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was fortunate to score on 68 minutes when home defender Ignazio Abate kicked a Jeremy Menez cross against his ex-team mate and the ball rolled into the goal.
He was later substituted and boos rang out from Milan fans as he applauded the small cheering Roma contingent, who were witnessing Milan's first Serie A defeat since October 30.
Milan started brightly with the same urgency and direct play which has been the hallmark of their good form under Massimiliano Allegri, in stark contrast to the slow, patient build-up seen under previous bosses Leonardo and Carlo Ancelotti.
Robinho, preferred to substitute Ronaldinho for the ninth straight Serie A game, shot wide early on after showing off some trickery before Ibrahimovic, among other Milan chances, missed a glorious opportunity when one-on-one with goalkeeper Doni.
Former Barcelona and Inter Milan front-man Ibrahimovic has been the catalyst for Milan's resurgence this term as they bid for a first scudetto since 2004 but the giant Swede was slightly off the pace after a busy few months spearheading the side.
He will be glad of a near three-week break now to recharge his batteries before Serie A resumes on January 6, by which time Milan may have bought Sampdoria forward Antonio Cassano if former owners Real Madrid negotiate over a sell-on clause.
Midfielder Andrea Pirlo will also need the recovery time after limping off with a thigh injury midway through the first period which led to Milan dropping their intensity slightly against Claudio Ranieri's solid defence.
Roma threatened little until the goal with Francesco Totti left on the bench and the little-used Adriano brought in.
"It's a great emotion to return to the San Siro," former Inter forward Adriano, who has complained about his lack of match action since arriving from Flamengo in June, told Sky.
"I'm happy but it's been a difficult match."
Milan's defeat meant stuttering champions Inter, who won the World Club Cup on Saturday but are down in seventh in Serie A, stay 13 points adrift of the leaders but with two games in hand.
In Serie A's other Saturday clash, Chile's ex-Inter midfielder Luis Jimenez struck on 17 minutes to give third-bottom Cesena a 1-0 win over Roberto Donadoni's Cagliari.